Fear Is The Key

15 05 2008

Suriname 2

The Island of Unmentionable Horrors – Suriname

Many years ago I read a fascinating book on cryptozoology, the study of species that may or may not exist. Things like Bigfoot, Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster and helpful tax collectors. I tend to keep an open mind on such matters, whether through wishful thinking or because I used too many toxic felt-tip pens as a child, I’m not sure. However, for all my optimism, there is one thing that I don’t think will ever be found – a man-eating frog.


Everyone has their own fears. I’ve known people who will happily pay top dollar to devour gelatinous raw fish in fancy restaurants, yet run a mile from a bowl of jiggling Jello. Others who faint at the thought of a paper cut yet spend their Saturday evenings glued to the most graphic slasher movie ever.


Different things evidently bother different people.


I once met a woman who seemed to be utterly fearless. We had spent several days together in the jungle and nothing perturbed her in the slightest. We’d seen scorpions and giant cockroaches and she never batted an eyelid. On our first evening we were advised to ensure that our mosquito nets weren’t pressed against our skin at night, lest vampire bats snuggle up and suck our blood. Still not so much as an eye twitch. When one morning we found the dog fast asleep surrounded by two bloated vampire bats so gorged on its blood that they were struggling to crawl away never mind fly, she gazed on with rapt fascination.


So imagine our panic when her blood-curdling screams filled the camp just after dawn. We volted from our sleep and ran towards the deafening sound. Had she been bitten by a snake? Cornered by a jaguar?  Was there a piranha in her water bottle? We found her standing in a clearing in front of the showers. She was holding her face in her hands, crying and shaking. She stammered unintelligibly and gestured frantically.


We grabbed long sticks and like the unruly mob of village-goers in Frankenstein, advanced towards the shower. We swung open the door and jumped back…and there was the cause of the commotion: on the floor of the shower, sitting by the drain in all its evilness, riled-up and ready to pounce.


It glared at us with cold, malefic eyes.


A frog.


Granted it was the biggest frog I’d ever seen, but it was still only a frog. Actually, a nice pretty green one.


“I really hate frogs”, sobbed our fellow traveller, unnecessarily.



Photo and post by: Simon Vaughan © 2008 




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